These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, February 22, 2008

maybe i'm the one who died?

i still hear, see, feel, taste and smell.
i still feel.
still laugh.
still cry.
i'm still here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

the sunshine of my life

for awhile there it seemed the sun had gone out (not to scare a co-worker about that scenario).

we hadn't seen much sun in ages, it seemed. the last time dawn and i saw substantial sunlight was jan. 19-20 when we went to chicago. after we left michigan and made the turn around the lake, it was blue skies. of course there were negative temperatures to deal with, though.

but up here in holland, there been so little sun since that mid-january time period. i really can't remember having a whole day of sun. it must have been in december. that's saying something.

however, the past few days, we've had plenty of sun. i woke up about 9 yesterday and rubbed my eyes, surprised to see a ray of light hitting the doorway of the bedroom. i was somewhat surprised because the douches on the tv said we'd have lake effect snow until 4 p.m. wednesday.

i got up and, no, there was plenty of sunshine. i was elated. my walk to work was good, although blinding because of the light reflecting off of the snow. still, it felt good to have the sun come down. when i came home for lunch i went outside and took some pics of the icicles hanging off the house.

today, once more that same ray of sunshine hit the spot on the doorway. this is good. it appears the sun will continue to burn.

the sun, despite the 20 degree temperature managed to melt the snow off the driveway and some snow from sidewalks. (though walking home last night, there were thin sheets of ice cracking underneath my boots as i walked over them.)

i love winters up north. the snow manages to enclose everything. sounds get muffled and you seem to be alone in a vast universe of white. snow covers tree limbs, ice forms on the lakes. it's beautiful.

even the cold is fine. properly dressed and thre's no problem.

this year it's been daunting because it's snowed close t 100 inches. more than i've seen in my five winters up here. shoveling or walking to work has caused much consternation, cursing, falling, slipping, sweating and a plethora of other unpleasantries.

one of the worst, though, is the lack of sunshine. you don't really know it until you see the sunshine, but you miss it. your mind misses it. i wouldn't say i get depressed, but after week upon week of no sun, it takes a toll on the body and mind.

so, ra, do your thing. take the blues away, my friend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

redneck rancher

why are you here, redneck rancher?
silly boy from down south,
you're in over your head.
see the mounds of snow -- way over

spell a word, take some crack,
c'mon you cracker,
blow on that pipe.

see here, nonentity,
why? because. because i said so.
because we said so

walk around, gabbing ang gabbing.
we don't care.

stand by my side and see if i care,
i'll ignore you.
that's for sure.

i'll look at you any way i want.
i'll look at you or not.

yeah, yeah, yeah, oh yeah.
i see through you. i'm looking through you.

what? did you say something.
oh, redneck rancher, go home.

go back to big skies and short trees,
go back to your people, back home, i think.

drive a tractor, hoe a field, weed a garden.
milk a cow or something lame.

hayseed ranch boy, walk away.
you came up north, welcome worn,

oh smile all, smile.
you've got it all fooled,
all fooled, please.
see no one coming, on one seeing it

deep breath, lad, deep, deep breath,
take the plunge, you live but once,
and once it enough to make the plunge
worth its while.

slender smile, warm eyes, shallow breaths,
a gentle word -- no more -- enough to satisfy,
enough to ensnare -- too late then.

the trap is shut!
redneck rancher, redneck rancher.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

a flood of memories

just went you think you've got it under control and you've set a course through smooth sailing, it all comes back in a flood of memories.

this past week i've been thinking a lot of dad. too much. i think of the old man every day and how much i miss him. i don't get those feelings where i think i'll just give him a call and see what's up. it's sunk in and i know he's dead. but i'd like a conversation or two with him or to glimpse once more his thin smile or a dry comment about something, maybe even a joke about how president bush is running the country or the state of duval county politics. or even the old standby: the weather here or there. just to hear him talk about the cows again. the ranch.

sometimes i wish i had one more conversation. or maybe i should have paid more attention here or there. oh i miss him terribly. you just don't know how much i miss the old man.

i think what started all of this is listening to music we both enjoyed. as i've mentioned before, he got me into listening to norteno music, especially los tigres del norte. they have become my fave in that genre. when we came back, i brought back lost of his cds that he'd bought during the last few years, when he'd sit on the couch and listen to the music.

i brought back a lot of the music. it's one of the things that connected us. i've not given a listen to any of the cds. this week i decided to try one of los tigres. i listened to it several times through. it was a mistake. i had to put it away tonight. i couldn't continue to listen.

i will shelve the cds until i feel i can listen to them in the future.

it's funny how things just started coming back. lots of memories of him, things i'd forgotten. the time during my senior year when he drove to town new year's eve night when i left a party at about 1 or 2 in the norning. he'd told me if i needed a ride, he'd pick me up. it turns out i did and he came. so unselfish. yet another time, when i failed to come home (this was when i was 15 and just begining to drive), he drove out at about 1 or so in the morning to find me. i must admit that i fibbed and said we were stuck between two cars and couldn't get out. i didn't want to get in trouble. a few miles from home, we encountered him coming to find us. he cared so much. i'm sorry for lying about why we stayed so long, pops. we were having a good time at the wedding.

and then there's the time after my eyes went bad, he told me, again unselfishly, that he'd give up one of his eyes to me if it meant i could see better through one eye. an impossibility, i know, but still, just the thought of it meant so much. i don't know if i ever said thanks, probably not, but thank you pop.

it's so hard to have these memories come flooding back (when we go back to the ranch this spring, it'll be extremely tough). but you know, at least i've got lots of good memories of dad and i can run that reel over and over if i feel like it.

you left us so soon, pops. even though we had more than two years to prepare, it was as if you left without warning.

missing you, man.